Applying for the F-1 Student Visa

An F-1 student visa is issued to international students who are attending an academic program or English Language Program at a US college or university.

Before you begin the visa application process, you must have the following documents:

  • Form I-20
    Your I-20 is sent to you in the mail from AIC after you have been admitted and deposited. Your I-20 is required when applying for an F-1 student visa at an American Embassy or Consulate and for entry into the United States.This I-20 has been produced by Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) and is an acknowledgement that your record is in the SEVIS system. The form includes your SEVIS ID number, which is the number in the upper right hand corner above the bar code (usually starts with an N).
  • SEVIS Fee Receipt
    All new students coming in F-1 status must pay a SEVIS fee prior to applying for your visa. You can find instructions about paying the fee on this page.

Applying for your Student Visa

You must apply for your visa well in advance of your arrival, as it can, in some instances take several weeks, and occasionally longer, to obtain the student visa. To apply for a U.S. visa, you will need to present the following documents at the U.S. embassy or consulate nearest to you:

  • Your Form I-20
  • The SEVIS Fee receipt
  • A copy of your financial support documents, that includes evidence (like a bank statement) that you have sufficient funds to meet the expenses of studying at AIC

In addition, the application for a U.S. visa requires you to present:

  • A valid passport
  • Passport-size photographs
  • Completed visa applications forms (Visa application forms are available on individual consular Web sites
  • An application fee and an interview will also be required

There have been (and continue to be) changes in the visa application process and these changes are usually reflected on the consular Web sites. Click on the following links to find more information on:

Important Info to Know

When applying for your student visa, pay careful attention to the following:

  • The U.S. Department of State has instructed U.S. consulates that they may issue an F-1 visa no more than 120 days in advance of the program start date. However, an application for an F-1 visa can be submitted more than 120 days in advance of the I-20 start date in order to accommodate long processing times. Again check the Web site of the consulate where you will apply for a visa for detailed instructions.
  • You must pay particular attention to the starting date noted on the I-20 document (Item #3), as you must enter the U.S. by this date. If you cannot enter the U.S. by this date, please get in touch with Office of International Student Engagement.
  • In addition, you may enter the U.S. no more than 30 days prior to the starting date noted on the I-20 Form. If you try to enter the U.S. more than 30 days before the start date on your I-20, you may not be permitted to enter the U.S.
  • The expiration date on your visa may not match the end date of your degree program. If your visa expires before you complete your degree program, you will apply for a new visa on your first trip outside the US after your current visa expires.
  • If the U.S. Consulate has any questions regarding your studies at AIC, please contact the Office International Student Engagement. And if your visa application is delayed or denied for any reason, please email immediately.
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